Per commentor PeakVT, the CPC — sponsored by Reps. Raul Grijalva & Keith Ellison — have released their proposed budget. It hasn’t gotten much attention from the Very Serious Media
enablers pundits, possibly because that would involve actual reading (many more .pdf words, fewer colorful slogans than Paul Ryan’s recycling project). Also, to be honest, Rep. Ellison is an improbably fine specimen of what my Midwestern friends call ‘Scandinavian charisma’, which does not translate well outside of the potluck supper belt, and for the Media Villagers it’s all about the optics.
Steve Benen (where I found the video) likes it:
… Keep in mind, this isn’t a fiscally irresponsible budget plan or even a plan that says fiscal responsibility is unimportant. In fact, it’s the opposite…
Earlier, I suggested that the Senate Democrats’ plan offers a bookend to the House GOP plan, but upon further reflection, that’s not quite right. Ryan aims for radicalism; Senate Dems aim for modesty. Ryan throws caution to the wind and laughs at calls for compromise; Senate Dems deliberately identify a moderate middle ground.
The actual bookend for Paul Ryan’s vision is the Congressional Progressive Caucus’ plan — it’s bold and unapologetic, presenting an agenda without real regard for whether folks on the other side of the aisle will find it worthwhile.
We’ll never know for sure whether the public would be amenable to a vision like this. In fact, I have a strong hunch more than 99% of the population will never hear a single word about the “Back To Work Budget.” But let’s be clear about one thing: on Capitol Hill, when it comes to creating millions of jobs in a hurry, this is the only game in town.
So does Matt Yglesias at EventheContrarian Slate:
… The upshot is that by 2023 spending will be about 23 percent of GDP with revenue coming in at 21.4 percent of GDP, leaving for a small and prudent budget deficit of 1.2 percent of GDP. In terms of timing, the fiscal consolidation happens pretty rapidly here. You run large deficits for the next few years, but by 2015 you’re already in arguably sustainable territory with a 3.3 percent of GDP deficit, and by 2016 it’s all the way down to 1.7 percent.
Obviously this isn’t going to be enacted and it’s in that sense not a “serious” budget. But people should take it seriously. The CPC envisions America becoming a country that has higher taxes, commits a much smaller share of national output to its military, and compensates its health care providers less generously. That’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s not a wild and crazy dream. It means America would look more like the United Kingdom. Most of all it shows that the passion for reducing elgibility for Social Security and Medicare isn’t driven by the laws of mathematics. It’s driven by a desire to protect the military budget, keep taxes low, and keep provider payment rates high. Those are all reasonable things to want to do and you can see why people would want to do them, but you can also see why people don’t want to be forced into a zero sum choice between welfare state programs for the elderly and education and infrastructure programs for the future.